The impact of the cost of living crisis hit home this week in a Twitter thread by food campaigner Jack Monroe.
Jack pointed out that the official figure of a 5% increase in the cost of living massively underestimates the true costs faced by ordinary families. Looking at basic goods, Jack estimated that the price of pasta is up 141% in a year, canned spaghetti up 169% and rice up a whopping 344%.
Weekly shopping bills appear to be rocketing and that's not all. The country is bracing for higher fuel bills. At the same time workers on very low incomes will be asked to pay a higher national insurance rate from April. Many people will also see steep council tax rises in the spring. Much of this is driven by councils increasing taxes to help fund social care costs.
What is the government going to do about these bread and butter issues?
On tax, Rishi Sunak has a choice. He can continue to ask those with the least to contribute even more.
Or he can ask those with the broadest shoulders to pay a fairer share instead.
The richest have done very well financially during the pandemic. Research from Oxfam found that the fortunes of the 10 wealthiest men in the world have doubled under covid.
A group of over 100 millionaires are calling for governments around the world to introduce wealth taxes. They estimate that a progressive wealth tax in the UK could raise £44 billion a year. It would only affect the very rich by starting once someone’s wealth was over £3.6 million.
Tax is about political choices. It would make much more sense to close the tax loopholes open to the rich and powerful than focus on raising national insurance.
If the pandemic taught us anything it's that we all rely on low paid care workers, nurses and shopkeepers who dug us out of the covid crisis. The cost of living is shaping up to be a huge political issue. We will continue to campaign for those with the greatest wealth to contribute their fair share.
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